How fast do you read?

15/01/2016 Discussions, Reading 41

How fast do you read?As per my new blog schedule, I was due to post a book review on Monday, which is now a two-weekly event on my blog. However, when I finally got home from work on Sunday and sat down with my laptop to write my review I suddenly realised something…I had nothing to review. It has actually taken me over two weeks to read a book, a fact that gives rise to the question: WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING TO ME?

Once upon a time I could devour even the thickest book within a matter of days – in fact the longest Harry Potter book (The Order of the Phoenix) lasted about three days in my greedy little hands before I was anxiously waiting for the next book to be released! So how come it has now taken me over two weeks to finish a moderately thick book which I just so happen to be really enjoying (The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, in case you’re wondering!)?

Whilst I still enjoy reading as much as ever, I have definitely noticed the rate at which I read books decline of late, and whilst I see other bloggers posting multiple reviews a week and wonder at how they have managed to read so much, I used to be able to do that too. So how come I have slowed down so much?

The only possibilities I can think of are:

  • I just have less time to read.

Back when I used to read several books a week I was a kid/teenager whose only commitments were school/college, which inevitably meant more free time and less pressure. These days I have a full time job which takes up a lot of my time, not to mention a flat to upkeep, some small semblance of a social life and multiple hobbies including writing, blogging and photography. Whilst back then it was unthinkable for me to go a day without reading, these days it does happen occasionally, and I just find that I haven’t had chance to read that day. However, I imagine a lot of readers and bloggers are the same, so why has this slowed me down so much?

  • I have less motivation to read. 

This, if anything, seems the most likely. My job involves working a lot of weird hours and I am literally stood up for my entire shift, so generally when I get home I just tend to flop on the sofa and eat Doritos until it is time to go to bed (because I’m healthy like that!). I also used to do a lot of my reading before bed, but these days doing that just seems to make me sleepy, so I have to use other forms of entertainment to wind down, and save reading for when I’m fully conscious.

Unfortunately the whole reading/motivation situation is unlikely to get better anytime soon – I’m moving house at the end of the month so I have a whole lot of work to do packing up all my stuff!

  • Blogging has put pressure on my reading.

If I’m honest, book reviews have never really been my favourite kind of blog post to write. Trying to actually put my feelings about a book into words can often be a painstaking process, and one that I don’t particularly enjoy. So am I just putting off writing reviews? I don’t feel like this is the case, but I guess it’s worth considering the fact that since starting blogging my reading has slowed down, and I wonder if it’s because part of the aspect of ‘reading for pleasure’ has been taken away seen as I also read to blog about it…but it seems unlikely. I still love reading, and I love blogging, although I guess blogging itself takes away from my actual reading time, and maybe because I’m now analysing books as I’m reading them it is slowing me down?

  • The speed at which I can physically read has somehow slowed down.

It surely can’t be possible that the rate at which my brain processes words has just slowed down?

At the end of the day though, does it really matter if I don’t read as fast as I used to, or if I haven’t posted a book review when I wanted to? I guess I’m just worried this gradual slowing down is leading onto some kind of mega reading slump (the last one I had lasted a year, and involved me basically stopping reading entirely!), but I don’t think that’s the case. I still really enjoy reading, and thanks to blogging I really seem to have found the kind of books I love, and there are so many more books I’m excited to read. I guess it is an inevitable part of life as a bookworm that you’ll go through stages where you have less time, or perhaps less motivation to read, but that isn’t necessarily such a terrible thing.

So I’m interested to know, how fast do you read? And have you ever noticed a change or fluctuation in how fast you read?

41 Responses to “How fast do you read?”

  1. Alexandra Mayhew

    Laura, this is me, absolutely, to a tee! I cite all of the reasons you do for my own slow reading skills… It’s vexing because I have so many books I want to read and not enough time! Lexie X

    • Laura

      It is just so frustrating when you really want to read all these books but feel like there isn’t time 🙁 I’m glad this isn’t just me though! It seems like so many other bloggers are reading multiple books a week these days, and I just can’t figure out where they find the time (or if I’m just a really slow reader!).

  2. Laura

    I have definitely noticed that my days of devouring massive books in one sitting are getting fewer and fewer, but it’s not for a lack of motivation – it’s more time and energy that lets me down. I want so much to just read ALL of the time – I’m highly motivated for that lifestyle. Unfortunately, being an adult means all of the adult things like working and cooking and cleaning keep getting in my damned way!! 😉

    • Laura

      I know, being an adult is such a pain isn’t it? All I want to do is read all day but I have to go to work and cook food and stuff 🙁

  3. Kirstie @ Upside-Down Books

    I find reading pace to be the constant bane of reading. I always want to read faster because I’m over excited to get to my books but at the same time I, a) can’t read all that fast, and b) I think there’s something equally wonderful about reading a book slowly. That way you get to spend more time in that world and with those characters. Largely for me it just depends on the book, it will take me double the time to read historical fiction to YA and even then there are variations. Best not to worry about it, I think!

    • Laura

      Yeah, I think not worrying about it is probably the best idea. It takes as long as it takes!
      I have definitely noticed that it depends on the book for me too though. At the moment I’m reading a lot of huge epic fantasy books, and whilst that tends to be my favourite genre, it inevitably takes me longer to get through them. You’re totally right about the merits of reading slowly though: if you really like the book then you do get to spend longer in that world, so that’s actually a plus 🙂

  4. Darina

    I can’t read so fast anymore and that feels not good! But there are so many things to do (work, blogging, household) that I have to block time to read. I love to read!

  5. Katie

    I feel like I’m the opposite to you! When I was at school/college I didn’t have time to read as I was too worried about doing work and hanging out with my friends. But as I’ve been doing my degree I’ve rekindled my love of reading! I think this is mainly due to me studying English & Creative Writing, so my reading speed has increased due to having to read 2-3 books or stories a week!

    I feel your pain when it comes to writing book reviews though! I just feel really awkward when I write them and I feel like they sound forced, and not showing my actual opinion on them

    Katie from

    • Laura

      That’s definitely a plus of studying English and Creative Writing (that’s what I did too!): you have to read several books a week for the course, so reading is compulsory! I also found with creative writing they get you to read a lot of short stories, which isn’t something I would usually read, but I really enjoyed doing that.
      I feel exactly the same about book reviews! In theory just saying your opinion on a book should be so easy, but I just find it awkward 🙁

  6. nordie

    I have a stack of reviews to write from around Christmas – the sooner I write them the better, otherwise I’ll forget what to write!

    As for the reading – a general guide is that if it takes me more than a couple of days to read a 400 page book (a week for 600+), then it’s time to ditch the book in favour of another one.

    • Laura

      I wish I had read enough books to have a backlog of reviews to write 🙁 I hope you get through them all soon!
      It sounds like you’re a pretty fast reader to me! That’s like, 200 pages a day! I used to be able to do that too if it was a book that I really loved, but these days not so much.

  7. Silvara

    Depends on how much I like the book usually. I’m a fast reader, I can read a page a minute, a little more if I really like the book. But if it doesn’t grab me, it takes longer to finish it.

    If it takes me longer than 4 days to get 70 pages into a book, and I’ve had time to read it, that usually tells me to DNF it. Because obviously something about that book and I aren’t clicking. Most of the time it doesn’t take me longer than 3 days to finish an entire book, if I really like it I usually finish the same day I started it. If of course, I have the time to do so!

    Granted, I can read at work which I’ve never had a job I could do that at before. So I have more reading time than the average full-time working person.

    • Laura

      It definitely takes me a lot longer to read a book that I’m not really enjoying, but I have found these days that even ones I’m absolutely loving (like my current one) are taking me ages. I think a lot of it is a lack of time though, so hopefully seen as I now have a week off work, my reading rate will pick up a bit!
      Your rule of abandoning books after 70 pages if it’s taking too long sounds like a good rule. By that point of a book you already have a good idea whether or not you’re going to enjoy it.

  8. Bunnita @ Worth Reading It?

    I also think it depends on the book. There are certain books that I just have to read. But of course life does slow you down sometimes. I also agree that blogging can slow down your reading. The thing I have been doing lately is writing my review right after I finish the book.

    • Laura

      Life really does slow down reading, and I definitely find when I’m busier or more stressed I tend to read less.
      Writing your review right after finishing a book sounds like a good policy though. I tend to leave it a couple of days, but by then I’ve usually started another book and have to flip back through some of it to refresh my memory!

  9. Krystianna

    It changes depending on how busy I am! If I’m super busy, I tend to reach for Netflix in my downtime instead of a book. However, when I have lots of free time, I spend my time reading… unless there’s a book that I’m finding really intriguing.

    • Laura

      I’m totally the same: if I’m really busy and just want to really relax I’ll put on a TV show instead. When I have loads of free time I’m more likely to have one of my huge reading sessions, where I’ll sit there for hours.

  10. Ria @ Lilac Diaries

    I read two books a week. But when days are hectic, I find it hard to sit with a book and read it. My mind wanders here and there, and the pressure of blogging also affects the enjoyment. I agree with ya!
    But this year, I haven’t reviewed any book yet. I decided to review/recommend the book I thoroughly enjoyed and some ARCs I have agreed to review. Blogging and Reading have become so fun now!

    • Laura

      I miss the days when I could read 2 books a week. Now it just takes me so long!
      I totally agree that is so much harder to read though when you’ve had a hectic day. I know when I’ve been super busy at work I just sit down when I get home and can’t concentrate on my book because I’m still in busy mode.
      I’m glad you’re really enjoying reading and blogging! 🙂

  11. Blaise

    I get the impression that a lot of bloggers feel obligated to review books, because that, in a way, is seen as the staple of book blogs.

    I’m also starting to think that maybe we should try to not enforce that?

    I think reviews can be fun to write, but I’m much more inclined to write reviews for some books than others. I have more to say, more share, about Magonia than I have about some of the books I’ve read but not reviewed on my blog. Some people don’t even like writing reviews–and so, I say, why not write a discussion instead? Pick an element of the book you’d really like to discuss and then use that book as lens for that discussion.

    But overall, if you don’t want to write a review, don’t. Unless you’re dealing with a contract or review copy, chances are good you don’t have to.

    • Laura

      I definitely agree that less pressure should be put on bloggers to do book reviews. Just because most bloggers do them shouldn’t mean any of us feel like we have to if we don’t want to!
      I find that I feel more like writing reviews for some books rather than others as well. It tends to be books that I’ve liked but not loved that I find it hardest to review. I just find it hard to know what to say about them, seen as nothing particularly stands out.
      I absolutely love your suggestion of writing a discussion based on a element of the book though! I think that would be so much more fun to write, so I’ll definitely have to try that. Thanks 🙂

  12. Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

    It definitely varies for me too! I will get into these great paces of 3-4 books a week, feel REALLY good about it and then… boom, I am lucky if I am finishing one! I have no idea why either- I haven’t been able to pinpoint a reason. I assume I am just usually really tired, but still. And I do get super overwhelmed with blog stuff for sure. Oddly, I am in a spot that I am rarely in right now- I have 15 reviews to write. Usually I am scrambling to finish a book to throw up a review but right now, things are rough! So I think that is absolutely part of it too (and I agree, reviews aren’t always the most fun, especially depending on the book!) I hope you can get your speed back to where you want it- and I am sure you will, it will probably pass 😀

    • Laura

      It’s so weird how it can just vary like that! I haven’t managed to read more than a couple of books a week for a long time, but at the moment I have slowed down to an absolute crawl. As you say though, it will probably pass 🙂
      I’m generally scrambling to finish a book to write a review too, but that does sound like a better situation than having a queue of reviews to write, so I really feel for you (being overwhelmed by blog stuff is the worst – it’s supposed to be fun!). I hope you manage to catch up soon!

  13. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    I go through periods where I manage to read a lot less, but it’s mostly because I’m busy with other things (editing or grading papers for co-op – or sometimes even blogging). I used to be able to easily read a book in a day, but now it often takes me longer!

    • Laura

      It can definitely depend on how busy you are, and I imagine that’s the most common reason why people slow down with their reading. I used to be able to read a book in a day too, but I can’t remember the last time I did that now 🙁

  14. Natalie @ Flowers in my Books

    I totally agree with your point that blogging has put pressure on reading! Sometimes when I’m reading I’ll think about how I’ll probably have to review the book and I. Hate. Reviews. It’s gotten to the point where I’ll only review a book if I REALLY want to, either if I just want to rave about it til’ the cows come home or if I really didn’t like it and want to rant a little. That definitely made me feel a whole lot better.

    • Laura

      Reviews really aren’t fun, are they? I really don’t know why I continue to write them when I don’t usually enjoy doing it, but it feels like I have to. Maybe I’ll start only reviewing books I really loved or really hated too, because they are definitely the easiest to write. It’s the mediocre ones that I didn’t have any strong feelings about which are the toughest to write in my opinion.

  15. Geraldine @ Corralling Books

    I definitely take note of my reading pace. As I’ve grown older, it’s slowed down – probably because of schoolwork and other stresses as well! Blogging has also put a pressure on me to read faster – especially with ARCs sometimes! That’s why I’m trying to cut down on requesting ARCs. My reading pace is also affected by how good the book is – if I’m forcing myself to read it, I can take forever to read it! :/
    Geraldine @ Corralling Books

    • Laura

      Having loads of stuff to do can definitely slow down your reading pace, and I have definitely found that how good the book I’m reading has a huge affect on it too. Sometimes I find myself forcing myself to read books I’m not enjoying, but I just hate giving up on them once I’ve got so far.
      I have personally never done the ARC thing just because I know I would get to the point where I feel like I’m not enjoying reading. Seen as my reading pace has already slowed down so much I don’t want to put anymore pressure on it than I need too!

  16. Cait @ Paper Fury

    I read pretty fast….I’m horribly annoying like that. XD I actually finished off two books today, but they were easy YA contemporaries. And I do think the genre depends on how fast one can read?? Like for a heavy epic fantasy, I can take DAYS and still feel like I rushed it and didn’t get the details *nods* But something more lighter and predictable I can whip through. hehe. So it does depend. It’s sooo hard to read when you’re exhausted though, right!??
    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

    • Laura

      Wow, two books in a day is some very fast reading!
      It does kind of depend on the book for me too though. Epic fantasies take me ages, and that seems to be my favourite genre these days, so possibly that’s part of the problem. I should maybe try reading something a bit lighter just for a bit of a break from fantasy soon! 🙂

  17. Kaja

    Hm, this is a really good question.
    I read fast by “normal people” standards – but when I compare my weekly/monthly page count to some other book bloggers, I see that I’m not that fast at all. But I don’t mind it – I like my pace.
    It does depend on the book, I think, if I’m reading a romance or a relatively simple YA, I tend to fly through the book (I can read a romance in an evening if I give myself enough time). But if I’m reading dense fantasy or classics or whatever, I tend to go slower. Also, the more interested I am in a book, the faster I read.
    But I definitely have less time to read now, life is crazy and keeping up with blogging takes a toll, too.

    • Laura

      As long as you like your pace, then that’s OK. I really shouldn’t get so hung up on mine – what does it really matter if I’m slow?
      It definitely depends on the book for me too. YA I find the quickest to read (unless I’m not really enjoying the book) but fantasies and classics take the longest for me too. And since all I’ve read in the past couple of months is fantasies and classics, I guess that could be part of the problem! 🙂

  18. Mara @ Mara Was Here

    It usually takes me a week to finish one book. However, these days school’s been keeping me busy with lots of homework and activities that sometimes it takes me two weeks. I always wish I’m those types of people that can read really fast though, like finishing a book in around three days or so. It would be so convenient for me (and my pitiful TBR). :/

    • Laura

      It would really help my TBR list too if I was still one of those people who could read a book in a few days, but things always get in the way for me too 🙁

  19. Jackie

    I am a slow reader. I know because whenever my boyfriend and I are reading the same article on the computer or phone, he starts scrolling before I’m even finished with the first paragraph! Then I have him scroll back up, and then I tell him I’m done and we can scroll down, and we keep doing this until we’ve completed the article. And you know what? He’s not even a reader! It’s not even fair that he can devour text faster than me! Then, add to the mix that I am an incredibly distracted reader, and it makes perfect sense why I can only read a book (thick or thin) in about two weeks. My mind just randomly drifts off to work or awkward encounters I’ve had with people during the week or day dreaming about what I would do if I were a character in a book…

    I sometimes feel kind of embarrassed that I read so few books compared to other book bloggers, and sometimes it makes me even question whether I’m truly a book lover if I cannot EVER complete my Goodreads challenge of FIFTY books. But, that pressure exists only because I compare my numbers to other bloggers’.

    • Laura

      I had definitely never really thought about my reading speed until I became a book blogger and saw how many books other bloggers read (although I did used to be able to read faster anyway). I don’t do the Goodreads challenge exactly for that point – i don’t know how many books I read in a year, but it probably isn’t more than fifty!
      I have often wondered myself if I can really call myself a book lover when I read so few books compared to other bookworms, but I guess if you read consistently and enjoy books, that makes you a book lover 🙂

  20. Sara@LibraryHuntress

    ‘If I’m honest, book reviews have never really been my favourite kind of blog post to write. Trying to actually put my feelings about a book into words can often be a painstaking process, and one that I don’t particularly enjoy.’

    Erm, if you don’t enjoy writing reviews, why are you writing them? I included them on my old blog and I got so bored with them and they ended up sucking the fun out of both reading and blogging. Now I don’t write reviews at all/no reviews on my blog and it’s way more fun this way 🙂 Why not just take a break from reviews, or maybe do shorter ones (mini-reviews is a growing trend on blogs right now).

    Anywhoo-I’m a fairly fast reader and average 2-3 books a week (I read 14 books last month). I’m hoping to get into bigger books though this year, and those will slow my pace down a bit. Which is fine, since I no longer have reading goals/a set number of books I want to read per year. I’m now a free range reader/blogger 🙂

    • Laura

      Err…that’s a pretty good question! Even though I don’t really enjoy writing reviews I just can’t seem to stop. It’s like ‘I’ve finished a book, not I must review it!’, even though really I don’t really want to. I’m definitely going to consider quitting the reviewing or just doing shorter ones, as it probably would make blogging a lot more fun!
      I can only dream of the days when I used to be able to read multiple books a week! I don’t have any particular goals or anything though either, so I guess that makes me a free range reader/blogger too! 🙂

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